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Lecture 7

HIS242H1 Lecture 7: 7. The Roaring Twenties

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University of Toronto St. George
Vasilis Dimitriadis

Thursday, January 26, 2017 Lecture 7: The Roaring Twenties Day-to-day development and how the war impacted the social composition of Europe. Introduction Almost every state promised their own population that once the war was over, they will have a better social/political system • Impossible to fulfill this promise • In order to fulfill it meant that capitalism and Western democracy would come to an end (Socialist revolution would be the only way to transform society) Monuments to the Dead In order to make the soldiers feel better when they came home WHILE commemorating the dead, many states created monuments/cemeteries to celebrate fallen soldiers • Britain: all 1 million British soldiers were buried where they fought • France: created a commission for finding and bringing back every single soldiers (or remains) - took them over 2 years This lead to the creation of war cemeteries throughout Europe • Soldiers were never memorialized individually before (it was always mass graves) • Everyone had the same memorial (a cross), despite status in the army • Justice and democracy presented to the survivors Problem: Monuments often criticized as not reflecting reality of loss Memorial for the ‘Unknown Soldiers’ - Hundreds of thousands of solders couldn't be identified, but they still received memorials • EX: The Cenotaph “empty tomb” - represented the unifiable void of so many soldiers dying 1 Thursday, January 26, 2017 Impact on Culture All artists reflected on the nature of the war - unfathomable that Europe (so highly seen) ended up in such a devastating war Writing • T.S. Eliot, The Wasteland (1922): questioned civilization itself - civilization that goes through such butchery can’t survive (April is the cruelest month - can bring flowers or a winter storm) • Lost Generation • Vera Britain, Testament of Youth (1933): everyone she cared about died in the name of war - ended up with the thought that an entire generation was lost (especially in Britain) • students of the most prestigious schools of Britain volunteered to be in the war - propaganda manipulation • died of the tens of thousands • Rudyard Kipling, Common Form (1918) - ‘If any question why we died, Tell them because of fathers lied’ • Supporting the idea of British empire and British superiority - • Strong nationalist and supported British involvement in the war • His son volunteered for the military soldier - turned down as he was too young and had deficiencies (short sighted) • overtaken by nationalism, he begged his father to pull some strings - he was enlisted • a month after, he was lost in the first military engagements through a shell burst - became missing in action • this event broke Kipiling, blamed himself for it Fine Art Different arts became normal after the war • Surrealism, expressionism, and cubism became the norm • Otto Dix, Metropolis: Caricature would have never been accepted before the war 2 Thursday, January 26, 2017 • George Grosz, Twilight- no way near conversional art Conversional subject matter reflection on the brutality of the war • ex: sex slaves, prostitues, butchery, male organism and masturabtion Films Propaganda became a major tool to convince the world you were fighting for justice (creation of their own motion picture studio - counter British and French propaganda) • Studio was sold and became private - it then challenged superiority of Hollywood 1. The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari - Became a must see • Depicted a physiatrist’s operation - had a puppet that carried out the will of the doctor (murder) - depicted the breakdown of society (unpredictable and psychological damage) • What astonished the viewers was how it was set up - nothing conversional (crooked floors, walls) - FIRST PSYCHOLOGICAL THRILLER 2. Metropolis - predicted a futuristic society (first sci-fi) • mixed with Gothic elements • Based on history (right and left wing revolution) - highly industrialized and slave society working for a small elite 3. M - for murder • ordinary sex murder - demonstrated how the cri
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